The side road leading to Kabul’s international Airport from the Abbey Gate was closed for two decades.
It was packed with thousands of people trying to escape Afghanistan for nine days.
It’s now restricted again, it’s dangerous quiet.
We drove from the airport terminal on the dusty road that took us to , the British evacuation processing center. Our base was at the Baron Hotel.
To our left, the blast walls that secured runway are still visible; these gaps are where desperate refugees have ripped through concrete and pulled up coiled barbed wire in an attempt to flee their children to relatives and soldiers.
A guard stopped our progress at a Taliban checkpoint 100m from the Baron gates.
This checkpoint was not in existence a year ago.
We told him we needed to go see the Baron. We explained that we needed to see the Baron. He was a bit confused, but eventually allowed us to go.
We stopped at the gate. We had all spent many days documenting the desperate situation of people trying escape.
We stopped at the scene where people were being crushed to death and suffering from hunger. Then we stopped at the spot where a suicide bomb was exploding in a canal. This killed at least 170 Afghans as well as 13 US Marines. It brought an end to this horrible episode.
We stopped to remember those days one-year ago and thought about those who had been left behind.
How the attacks took place in Kabul: Carnage in Kabul
Today, I had the pleasure of meeting one of these people.
We won’t identify him to protect his safety. However, he spent five years at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province during the British military.
After three days and three nights spent in the baron crowds, he finally gave up when an IS-K suicide bomber attacked the canal. He was only 100m from his wife and their two young children.
Since then, he has been hiding, shifting from one location to the next every month, keeping his life in constant limbo.
“My life is now a hell. I don’t know where to go or what I should do. I don’t even know how to tell people about my situation. Whose help I need?” He spoke to me in an unidentified location in the capital.
“I just wanted to tell you, UK government, people in UK, soldiers of UK that I have worked with them for five-years.
“I gave my whole life for them. I was willing to give everything. I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with them in all situations, even when I was in the UK in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
“I would like to ask from everyone around the world that the ARAP cases be looked into my case and help me get out of this hell.
His Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy application (ARAP) is in. He has a case number but is still waiting for final approval and news about a plan to extricate him.
“One month ago, I asked them to send an update. But they said, “Wait, wait, wait .”
He feels lost and confused by the delay.
“What’s the difference between my Afghan blood and Ukraine blood?” He asks.
“The UK gave Ukraine 100,000 visas when they were at war for a month. I got them one year later. Why are they doing this?
He claims he is mentally and physically exhausted and that his wife has not recovered from the trauma caused by the bombing.
His seven-year old daughter continually asks him why is he not happy. But she is too young for the reality of the situation the family continues to be in.
“They don’t care much about me”
Sky News was founded one year ago to assist as many people as possible. We were able to do this, like many news organizations, by getting people out.
One year later, we still feel the urgency to help.
He broke down when I said we would do everything we could to get his case reviewed by the British government.
He said, “Seriously, my heart is bleeding, for my children, and for my life,” and then he cried, trying to hold back his tears, while apologising for his inability to keep his cool.
“I love my family so deeply, but now I can do nothing.”
“I don’t know what I should do for my family, my life, my family, or what to do. There are so many things that need my attention, and they just won’t help me.
“I worked honestly with them, my whole life was spent with them and I helped with their soldiers. But they don’t care much about me.”
He is not alone in feeling abandoned.
There are many people just like the one we talked to, hiding in their homes, moving each month, unable work and unable send their children to school.
They live in fear, waiting for directions that might never come.